Principality of Monaco shines on Solar

A full hand for the 4th Monaco Solar & Electric Boat Challenge, organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco in partnership with the UIM. With the four standard contests and a new offshore race between Monaco and Nice completed, the three-day (Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th July 2017) programme more than met expectations of the 21 teams from seven nationalities.

As reflected by its General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri, the YCM was satisfied with the outcome: “We are delighted to see more and more young people coming to this meeting. They bring new ideas and their enthusiasm for their projects is infectious.” The one overriding objective is to use competition to promote eco-responsible propulsion to the largest number of people involved in motor-sport. “This event is a way to raise public awareness. Sustainable energy sources exist today and it is up to us to demonstrate their application,” explains Marco Casiraghi, the man behind the project.

Dutch have head start

Nothing can stop them: Gerhard van der Schaar’s Dutch boat Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat Team in the Open Class and Johannes van der Steen driving NHL Solarboatteam in Challenge A, each won the Fleet Endurance Race, the speed contest, slalom and one-on-one duels in their respective categories. “It’s great to come here and face more and more competitors each year. The concept has attracted new teams from very different backgrounds,” said Gerhard van der Schaar, winner of all four editions. “Of course, the team and I are very happy to win the Monaco Solar & Electric Boat Challenge again.” His Dutch team also won the YCM Speed Record, with a speed of 47.906 km/h registered over one eighth of a mile (231.5m).

New for 2017

The big novelty this year was the launch of the Monaco Offshore Solar & Electric Race from Monaco to Nice and back. Built to YCM Offshore Class specifications, the electric boat Heliodive equipped with 50 solar panels, and able to take three people aboard, completed the 25 nautical miles in 3 hours 10 minutes to establish a reference time.

The UIM also brought something new to the table, a workshop focused on the environment and motor-sports. Fourteen speakers representing major international automobile authorities and federations spent two hours debating problems that still face application of sustainable energy sources for boats and cars. “It is vital that we come together to progress and develop these technologies in our different fields,” stressed UIM President Raffaele Chiulli, “It’s the future!”


One major issue is battery storage on board and how to increase their capacity, a foray into technical details that will help tomorrow’s engineers visualise and create an even cleaner yachting sector.


Young Monegasques take up the challenge

In addition to contests on the water, students from Monaco’s Lycée Technique et Hôtelier were again involved in the Vripack Challenge. Eight plunged in at the deep end to build two boats assisted by their teachers. Dorian, Olivier, Corentin and Téo, all in their penultimate year, have had since the end of June to assemble a race boat, while Quentin, Daniel, Enzo and Nicolas, who already took part last year, had only four days to complete the task. It was a daunting challenge for these budding engineers, who then competed in the slalom and duels.

Rendezvous next year for the fifth edition which looks set to be as entertaining and well-attended.